So after such a full weekend of information and socialization, what did I really learn? A lot, actually.
I learned that I am a successful blogger for all the right reasons (and by “successful”, I mean by my own standards, not just monetary “success”): I believe in and love what I’m writing about, I’m sharing some pretty valuable information with others, and I’m being myself. If there’s one message that most panelists put out there it’s to do just that: be yourself; love what you do; share (with or without semicolons).
Amy Sherman, Dianne Jacob, and Kristine Kidd taught me that it’s okay to assign value to what I do regardless of blogging “stature”. “Don’t give away your recipes for free!” proclaimed Amy at one point, eliciting thunderous applause from all 250 bloggers. The more I work on PGEW, the more I’ve been approached with a ton of opportunities, some of which I have learned are not exactly right for me.
I learned that not everything is exactly as it seems and that it’s okay to question what doesn’t look or feel right when approached by a company or individual.
I learned to make pictures, not just take them, thanks to Penny De Los Santos. Now that I think about it, I’ve probably been trying to do this since day one, gleaning inspiration from folks like Heidi Swanson and Molly Wizenberg and their spectacular photos. My equipment may not yet be the most sophisticated, but my love of food and my desire to convey the beauty and fascination that every dish I make holds for me is translated in the photos I post. Learning to make pictures vs. taking them will only make my photos that much better, and maybe someday, with the right equipment, you’ll see exactly what I see & feel with every dish I post.
I learned to blog for the love of blogging, something I’ve been doing since August 10, 2008, the date of my very first post. James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine, made that clear several times in his keynote speech on our second night of the conference. Most of you are here because you know I love sharing my recipes, my advice, and most importantly, myself. Sure, there are plenty of flowery, pretty things that I could put on here, but a lot of you are here because you can relate to me and that makes me happy. I have wanted and always want you to feel as if you know me and what I go through on a day-to-day basis, because I know I’m not the only one living through this sort of financial hell. If I can put a name and a face to this type of frustration, that’s way better than coming up with the perfect adjectives for a bowl of quinoa.
Most importantly, though, I learned that food bloggers are amazing people: full of talent, wit, hilarity, intelligence, and an amazing passion for what they do. Whether they write about eating healthy all the time, or a baking-centric blog; food trucks or being a proud, self-proclaimed beef addict – my fellow food bloggers are incredible people with so much to give. To be a part of such a community just makes my heart swell with pride.
Thank you, IFBC 2010! Can’t wait to see you next year!
And now, for your viewing pleasure, the very first slideshow of my very first trip to Seattle and all the fun IFBC happenings I could record on digital “film”…